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THE OTAGO WITNESS. Dunedin, Saturday, May 29, 1858.

The " Harp," from Canterbury, arrived at this Port on Thursday, bringing a small mail from thence, by which we have a few Lyttelton papers. They contain some information of importance, but, as they do not complete our files, the news is somewhat disjointed. The " Harp "is from Hobart Town, and has been at Auckland and several of the intermediate Ports between that place and here. The " Swan," we learn, was chartered by the General

Government to bring on the writs for members to fill the vacant seats in the House of Representatives. She had met with bad weather, and had been long on her voyage; but, as she left Lyttelton some days before the " Harp," she has the Auckland and European mails on board, and she is said to be now at the heads. By this opportunity we learn that the General Assembly had been sitting for upwards of a month, and that a great number of Bills had been proposed. From the " Lyttelton Times " we gather the following rather scanty information as to the nature of the proposed measures: — We have received by the " Harp" Auckland papers up to the first week in May ; but, not having recived the complete file, we cannot, under the present circumstances, summarise the proceedings in the Assembly up to the latest date ; in fact, the curtain is raised upon them but for the space of three days, to give us a transient peep at the close of the first month's debating. The scene is somewhat curious. First we catch sight of a few bills in various stages of mastication : their names are given, but the matter of them is scarcely hinted at. There is a « Church of England Trust Bill," which has passed the Upper House and been read a second time in the Lower. It was prepared by the Bishop of New Zealand, and embodies the Church Constitution adopted last year at the Convention. An "Interpretation Bill" had nearly passed both houses on the 4th May. A " Banker's Draft Bill," legalizing the practice of crossing drafts, was read a second time that day. The " Boundaries of' Provinces," " Absent Debtors," " Unstamped Instruments," and " Absent Defendant's " Bills, were read a third time and passed in the Lower House that day. A " Wool and Oil Securities," " Foreign Seamen," "Election Writs," "Militia," "Special Partnership," " New Zealand Post Office," " District Courts," and "Customs Regulations" Bills are also spoken of in different stages of progress, besides some others. This is a mere catalogue, but it indicates much work in hand. In the House of Representatives, on the 13th of April, Mr. Stafford moved for and obtained leave to bring in the following Bills : — A bill for the Interpretation of Acts of the General Assembly of New Zealand. Also a bill to provide for the resignation of seats, and the issue of writs for supplying vacancies in the House of Representatives during the recess. Also a bill to repeal certain laws relating to Elections in New Zealand. Also a bill to provide for the periodical appointment of Representation in the House of Representatives. Also a hill to amend the law relating to the qualification of electors and members of the House of Representatives. Also a bill to amend the law relating to the Registration of persons qualified to vote at elections of members of the House of Representatives. Also a bill to make provision for the regulation and conduct of elections of members of the House of Representatives. Also a bill to make provision for the trial of petitions against the election or return of memj bers of the House of Representatives. Also a bill to make provision for the prevention of corrupt practices at elections. Also a bill to amend the law relating to the elections of Superintendents of Provinces, and members of Provincial Councils. The " District Courts Bill " is certainly a most extraordinary measure, judging from it and the comments made by the Times thereon ; from which it would appear that " Every district court shall have cognizance of all crimes and offences (except perjury) committed within the district over which its jurisdiction extends, and punishable by fine, or imprisonment, or both, or by transportation, not | exceeding seven years, or by penal servitude, I not exceeding four years." On reading this it { is natural to ask, why stop hear ? Why with- | hold all oth p r criminal jurisdiction ? If the gentleman who may preside in district courts is competent to be judge in cases involving seven years transportation, he should be considered competent to condemn to death. By clause 122 we find — " That people are to be punished for going to the Supreme Court instead of the District Court. This clause enacts that a plaintiff recovering in the Supreme Court any sum not exceeding £100, when District Courts have i jurisdiction in the case, is not to be allowed his costs. However rightful the case of the litigant may prove to be, he has shown a wicked preference for the Supreme Court, and a contempt, or at least neglect, of the 'fit and proper' Court which must be punched, So he is mulcted of his costs. If these Courts are to come into existence, it is perhaps just as well to ensure their having work to do. "After these instances of the powers proposed to be granted to these District Courts, it will not startle our readers to hear that tLjy will have power to grant and dissolve injunctions (clause 25), to grant probates of wills and letters of administration, to set aside awards, and to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the Supreme Court, to hear and determine appeals upon summary convictions. Such trifles, involving, as they do, no slight knowledge of equity and law, may fairly be entrusted to a I Court which can award penal servitude for four years." We observe that there is one bill with the general title of the *' Boundaries of

Provinces Bill," the nature of which we cannot learn ; but we know that one of the chief objects of the attendance of His Honor the Superintendent at the present session, was to watch over the interests of this Province with regard to the Boundary between Otago and Canterbury, and that"" His Honor was fully provided with maps of the country in dispute ; we have no doubt that the bill has reference to that matter. His Excellency's opening speech has not reached us, but we observe that a warm debate took place in the Legislative Council on the reply, which, however, was carried. The Auckland members having, of course, the large majority in the Assembly, have taken the opportunity of fighting the battle of local politics in the Assembly, much to the disgust of the members from the other Provinces. We also see that the Assembly was prorogued, but to what date we cannot learn, — probably for a very considerable time, to enable the members, who may be elected under the new writs, to take their seats. We regret to learn that Mr. Sewell's stay in the home country was caused by the arrangements for the establishment of steam communication having fallen through, and that, for the present, all hope of carrying out that desideratum must be abandoned. From the Canterbury papers we see that His Honor the Superintendent was a candidate for a seat in the General Assembly to represent Akaroa. Mr. Crosbie Ward, the proprietor of the " Lyttelton Times," was offering himself to the Lyttelton constituency to fill one of the vacancies. We have very little news from the other Provinces of New Zealand. There has been more fighting amongst the natives at Taranaki, and several have been killed on each side. The Government were strengthening their military forces in that Province. The European news which reaches us by this opportunity is scanty. The Wool market was in a promising state, — a rise being anticipated at the February sale. An able summary of a warm debate in the House of Commons on the " Alien Bill," is given by the " Lyttelton Times," but too long to extract at present. The object of the bill, which is a Government measure, is to provide a remedy against aliens conspiring in Great Britain against Foreign Potentates, whom, it is alleged, the present laws do not reach. The measure appears very unpopular, not but that the public have a due horror of the late attempt on the life of the Emperor of the French, but John Bull does not like to be supposed to be constrained to the measure by French influence, and no doubt the impertinent tone of the addresses from the French army to the Emperor have tended to raise this feeling in England. The following are specimens of the addresses, extracted from the official organ of the Imperial Government: — Tnn Eighty-second Regiment.— "Those wild beasts who at periodical epochs quit a foreign soil to inundate the streets of your capital with blood, inspire us with no other feeling than that of disgust • and if your Majesty wants soldiers to pet at these men, even in the recesses of their den, we humbly beseech you to choose the S2nd regiment as part of the advanced guard of that army." The Rouex Division.—" Let the miserable assassins, the subaltern agents of such primes, receive the chastisement due to their abominable attempts; but also let the infamous haunt where machinations so infernal are planned be destroyed for ever."

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THE OTAGO WITNESS. Dunedin, Saturday, May 29, 1858., Otago Witness, Issue 339, 29 May 1858

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THE OTAGO WITNESS. Dunedin, Saturday, May 29, 1858. Otago Witness, Issue 339, 29 May 1858

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